Building a new nuclear power station in Suffolk could be significantly cheaper than the near £20 billion Hinkley Point C site, the new boss of energy giant EDF Energy has said.
Simone Rossi, chief executive of the French firm, said there could be a capital cost reduction of 20% for a proposed new plant at Sizewell.
Giving an update on Hinkley in a speech in Somerset, Mr Rossi said the project was “going well”, with almost 3,000 workers on site.
More than four million cubic metres of earth have been moved and huge sea water cooling pipes are now being installed.
The aim remains to put the first unit of power into service by 2025.
Mr Rossi said the key to reducing the cost of building new power stations was replication – “doing something again with the same design makes it easier and cheaper”.
He continued: “Hinkley Point C has eight emergency generators. They had to be designed and certified to meet the standards required for nuclear safety.
“That means the first two will cost £38 million, but the next six will be half the price. At Sizewell, none of that development or certification work needs to be done again. All its emergency generators will be at the lower price.
“Repeating that experience countless times for a power station at Sizewell that is largely identical to Hinkley Point C makes a capital cost reduction of 20% possible.
“This repetition extracts more value from everything that is happening at Hinkley Point C to restart the nuclear industry after the long gap since Sizewell B opened in 1994. “
EDF Energy and its partner China General Nuclear Ltd propose to build and operate a new nuclear power station, Sizewell C, located to the north of the existing Sizewell B plant on the Suffolk coast, with two reactors capable of generating enough low carbon electricity to supply around five million homes.
The go-ahead for Sizewell C would see the guaranteed price paid for power from Hinkley Point drop from £92.50 per megawatt hour to £89.50/MWh.